by Max Brantley
McCombs, a member of the nationally ranked creative writing program in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, said he got the idea for the poem, “Dumpster Honey,” after a colony of bees set up a hive on an outer wall of the building where his office is located.
“Some of us noticed that the bees were quite territorial about the dumpster by the loading dock at Kimpel Hall and would fly at you if you walked past,” McCombs said. “My colleague John DuVal said, ‘I’ve heard of apple blossom honey, but never of dumpster honey.’ Well, I loved that phrase, and over the next couple of weeks, I wrote the poem with that title.”
Another creative writing colleague, Michael Heffernan, suggested that McCombs submit the poem to The New Yorker.
“We welcome this opportunity to enhance the reputation of the University of Arkansas in this venue,” said Dorothy Stephens, chair of the Department of English. “The faculty and I are proud to have one of our own appear in such a prominent and prestigious publication.”
The New Yorker is a weekly magazine offering a signature mix of reporting and commentary on politics, international affairs, popular culture and the arts, science and technology, and business, along with fiction, poetry, humor and cartoons. The magazine is available in print at newsstands and by subscription. Each week’s issue is also published in an app for tablets and smartphones.